One of the pitfalls of the intellectual life described by Brett yesterday had to do with the downside of developing “a critical and skeptical eye toward ideas.” Continuing on that point today, it’s worth considering C. Michael Patton’s “Ten Reasons Good Christians Go Bad,” where he notes the danger of being overly critical not just of ideas in general, but of the very Word of God:
I see this so often with apologists. So many times we seek to present ourselves as those who are not naive. We want people to see us as seeking rational justification for everything we do and believe. This becomes unhealthy and destructive to the Christian life when we build a methodology which puts the Bible on the witness stand at every point. “I am not going to believe this verse until it is rationally justified on its own merits.” The idea here is that God is guilty of falsehood until proven innocent (although we would never put it that way). In doing so, we think we are doing God a favor.
However, after a while, this will tear our faith apart. We don’t need rational justification for everything we believe. Hang with me. Just think if you did this with your spouse. What if everything Kristie said to me needed to be questioned. “I am going to pick up the kids,” she says to me. “I don’t believe you unless you can prove it,” I respond. “Dinner is ready,” she says. “We will see about that,” I think to myself. At some point in our marriage, Kristie earned the right to be trusted. I don’t need to critically evaluate everything she says. If I did, our relationship would fall apart.
Some of you have quit believing the Lord and the Scriptures. You put everything in a queue of future belief. But there is a point when you decide that God and the Bible are trustworthy and you set aside the critiques. It is not a matter of “just believing” for no reason at all. It is a matter of “just believing” because God is trustworthy. Some of you need to get back to reading and believing the Scriptures.
You can read his other nine reasons here.